While Italy has the Bellini and the United States has the Cosmopolitan, Brazil has the Caipirinha. But you can certainly get many other drinks while in Brazil. This article will help you learn which ones you should try and which ones you should definitely stay away from.
There is an amazing variety of beverages that a foreigner can find in Brazil. Some of them are all natural, like exotic fruit juices, but some others are so original that they could only be invented by Brazilians.
It is safe to say that the drinks below can be found in Brazil — and that some of them should be avoided at all costs.
10 Drinks To Try
1. Good Cachaça
Brazil’s national liquor must be tasted. Cachaça is a distilled drink made from sugarcane, with a high alcohol content. As with any other alcoholic beverage, there are fine versions of Cachaça, and there are several cheaper versions. If you want to taste and feel the burn of Brazil’s favorite drink, make sure you buy a nice brand. Cachaça is also known as Pinga, and it can be served with squeezed lime and honey.
2. Caipirinha And Its Variations
As previously said, it is almost mandatory for tourists to try a Caipirinha. The original version is made of Cachaça, sugar, lime and ice, all mixed up in a glass. There are however several other flavours, where different fruits substitute the lime: red berries, passion fruit, cashew, tangerine, and lychee are just some of them.
Caipirinhas can also be made with different alcoholic beverages. The Sakerinha substitutes the Cachaça for Sake, a japanese fermented drink made from rice. This results in a smoother drink. There is also a version made from vodka, named Caipiroska or Caipivodka, depending on the region where it is ordered.
The Cajuína is a non-alcoholic drink made from the cashew. It was invented in the northeastern state of Piauí, where the fruit is abundant. The cashew juice is filtered, sterilized and clarified. This refreshing beverage is usually served cold.
4. Chimarrão and Tererê
These are basically the same beverage, with one single difference: while Chimarrão is served hot, Tererê is served cold. They are made the same way as Mate, a beverage seen in other South American countries. It is an infused drink made from leaves of a herb and served in a typical gourd, named cuia.
5. Coconut Water
If you ever go to a Brazilian beach, make sure you try some Coconut Water with your toes on the sand. This drink is nothing else than the liquid inside green coconuts, that is rich in minerals and slightly sweet. In Brazil, some sellers cut the top of coconut open when the customers order it, and then if asked will cut the coconut open so you can eat the white pulp inside.
Guaraná is the name of a fruit found in the Amazon, but nowadays it is also a synonym for soft drinks made of it, including the pink coloured Guaraná Jesus. This fruit is high in energy and can also be used for the making of fresh juices.
7. Açaí Juice
The sweet thick purple juice made from the Açaí berry is a great energy provider but is very high in calories. The Açaí Juice is one of the trending drinks on Brazilian beaches. The Açaí berry can also be found in a thicker form, similar to a paste, that is commonly mixed to other fruit like bananas and strawberries.
8. Garapa or Caldo de Cana
This really sweet drink is made from sugarcane. It is basically the liquid that flows when the plant is crushed. It has a very particular taste, and it can be served with the Brazilian pastel. It should probably be avoided by those on a diet.
This drink is not so easy to find, but it is an interesting mixture associated to a typical Brazilian dance: forró. Xiboquinha is made of Cachaça, clove, cinnamon, lime, ginger and herbs. There is also a bottled version of this drink, which is not so good.
Catuaba is a drink made from extracts of a plant found in the Amazon forest. It is visually similar to wine, but this exotic beverage is a bit stronger. Popular culture affirms that Catuaba has aphrodisiac properties, and should be drank in moderation.
10 Brazilian Drinks To Avoid
Some of the drinks below are not necessarily bad. The problem is they are usually sold in bad conditions and can be considered a recipe for a bad hangover. Even though you might have met these combinations before, at least their names are 100% Brazilian.
1. Vinho Químico
To be fair, “Chemical Wine” is not even a drink. But this mixture made from ethanol, colorant and sugar is sometimes sold as wine by street vendors, and is consumed by some young Brazilians in order to get drunk faster. To be safe, avoid drinking anything sold by unauthorized vendors.
Capeta means “devil” in Portuguese, and is a very strong drink made of… Everything. Most popular recipes are not so bad, and use vodka, condensed milk, pineapple, cinnamon and guaraná. The main problem is that most times Capeta is served mixed with Cachaça and Gin, resulting in a very strong alcoholic drink.
This is a pretty simple drink, common amongst students. It is basically a glass full of Cachaça and soda. After it is served, the consumer must hit the glass on the table. This action will cause the gas to raise from the mixture, making it necessary to chug the drink in one go.
The mixture of Cachaça, lime, gooseberry syrup, and ice is called Bombeirinho. Whilst it might be a sweet drink, it is usually sold by cheap bars and street vendors, so it is not recommended.
5. Rabo de Galo
Translated as “rooster tail”, this drink is a simple combination of Cachaça and Vermouth. It is not very tasty and it is extremely strong. You should probably avoid it, unless you are looking for a headache.
6. Maria Mole
There are two things in Brazil that receive this name, which means something like “mushy Maria” in English. One is a dessert, typically found in Brazilian festas juninas, made of coconut, condensed milk and gelatin. The other one is a drink made of Vermouth and Brandy, served by vendors near Brazilian clubs and street events. This drink should probably be avoided.
7. Disco Voador
This drinks name is translated as “flying saucer”, and is another one of the many drinks made from Cachaça. Disco Voador is popular among students and in cheap botecos. It is made of Brazil’s national liquor and lime, and is served in a glass with ground cinnamon on the edge of the it.
8. Santo Daime Tea
The most controversial drink in this list, Santo Daime Tea is used in religious ceremonies in Brazil and other Latin American countries. This hallucinogenic beverage is made of ayahuasca leaves, and is only legally permitted for religious purposes. Yet, some people use it as a drug, leading to severe psychological and physical damage if used excessively.
9. Cheap Wines
Brazil is not famous for the quality of its wines. Most of the fine wines consumed in the country are imported from more traditional markets. Yet, there are good national wines, usually cheaper than the ones from Europe. On the other hand, there are many cheap wines, sometimes even sold in large gallons, that should probably be avoided due to its low quality and impurities.
10. Bad Cachaça
It is really easy to find Cachaça in Brazil, but be careful. There are several brands that sell a low quality drink, with impurities and too much tannin. Bad Cachaças are usually cheaper and sometimes, sold in plastic bottles. As a matter of fact, make sure you don’t consume any alcoholic beverages sold in plastic bottles while in Brazil.